Bob Dylan Wrote 60+ Essays About Music For New Book The Philosophy Of Modern Song
Bob Dylan is about to release his first book since 2004’s Chronicles: Volume One and his first since winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 2016. The new tome, scheduled for release in November, is called The Philosophy Of Modern Song. A press release describes it like so:
Dylan, who began writing The Philosophy Of Modern Song in 2010, offers a master class on the art and craft of songwriting. He writes over 60 essays focusing on songs by other artists, spanning from Stephen Foster to Elvis Costello, and in between ranging from Hank Williams to Nina Simone. He analyzes what he calls the trap of easy rhymes, breaks down how the addition of a single syllable can diminish a song, and even explains how bluegrass relates to heavy metal. These essays are written in Dylan’s unique prose. They are mysterious and mercurial, poignant and profound, and often laugh-out-loud funny. And while they are ostensibly about music, they are really meditations and reflections on the human condition. Running throughout the book are nearly 150 carefully curated photos as well as a series of dream-like riffs that, taken together, resemble an epic poem and add to the work’s transcendence.
Simon & Schuster’s president and CEO Jonathan Karp also shared this statement:
The publication of Bob Dylan’s kaleidoscopically brilliant work will be an international celebration of songs by one of the greatest artists of our time. The Philosophy Of Modern Song could only have been written by Bob Dylan. His voice is unique, and his work conveys his deep appreciation and understanding of songs, the people who bring those songs to life, and what songs mean to all of us.
A project like this runs the risk of unraveling the mystique behind Dylan’s own songwriting, but if six decades of creative work are anything to go on, I have a feeling his thoughts about music will raise at least as many questions as they answer. I do wonder what he thinks about Pulitzer winner Kendrick Lamar.
The Philosophy Of Modern Song is out 11/8 on Simon & Schuster.